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The ability of robotic assistants to take objects from or hand them to people is seen as a crucial stage in development on the way to safe cooperation. That is why TU Ilmenau in Thuringia is launching the SONARO research group: The German abbreviation stands for ‘smart object-acceptance and -transfer for user-centric mobile robotic assistants’. Within the framework of this scientific project, robots are learning how to act as intelligent sidekicks for their human colleagues and to take hold with feeling. The cobots should easily surpass the latest stage in development of interactive assistant systems in their role as assistants within the Industry 4.0 environment.

The main goal of the scientists is to achieve improved functionality in terms of contactless monitoring and ongoing analysis of the interaction space shared by man and machine. A number of companies are participating in the project that is funded by the Thuringian Economics Ministry, including the Honda Research Institute Europe . Cobots are real beacons of hope for digitization, particularly in the field of intralogistics . They are also driving process optimization in small and medium-sized companies.